Walk the Talk: File photo  of BRICS leaders walking together at a previous summit

The BRICS virtual summit will focus on economic recovery amid the Covid-19 pandemic

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping will be on the same platform within a week when leaders of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) grouping convene for a virtual summit on Tuesday to focus on economic recovery amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Modi will join the virtual BRICS Summit with the theme “Global stability, shared security and innovative growth”.

The summit, being held in the backdrop of the pandemic, will discuss intra-BRICS cooperation and key global issues such as reforming the multilateral system, measures to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 crisis, and cooperation in counter-terrorism, trade, health and energy.

This will be the second time Modi and Xi will be on the same virtual platform since the India-China border standoff emerged in May.

On November 10, Modi and Xi participated in the virtual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), also hosted by Russia. In an indirect reference to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Modi had urged SCO members to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries while implementing connectivity projects.

He had also taken a swipe at Pakistan, saying it was unfortunate that repeated attempts are being made to violate the SCO charter by raising bilateral issues. Russia had subsequently backed India’s position on this matter.

The top leadership of India and China are expected to be on the same online platform during five meetings this month. Besides the SCO Summit on November 10, the East Asia Summit on November 14 and the BRICS Summit on November 17, the two countries will also participate in the G20 Summit during November 21-22 and the SCO council of heads of government meeting on November 30.

In 2021, India will take over as chair of BRICS for the third time since the grouping’s inception and host the next summit.